The Imago Dei
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27).
The image of God. In Latin it is called “The Imagio Dei.”
God creates man in His image and then man tries to destroy that image. He takes the gift of God and basically rejects it. Thanks but no thanks. Satan tempts with the words: “You can be like God” and we think that is a great idea. So we jump on the bandwagon and try to wrest from the exalted King all that is due Him. We are not content with being made in the image of God…We want to be God. So we do all sorts of things to minimize the image of God and replace it with our own image. We become the center of the universe and make ourselves the objects of worship. Idols. In a strange twist we took what was perfect and proceeded to corrupt it to the point that sometimes we can’t even see the image of God…it is almost unrecognizable.
But it is not gone.
It is not obliterated.
Under the muck and the mire remains the image of God. Under the hardness, the anger, the bitterness, the hatred, the foulness…is the image of God. When sin entered the world, God did not leave. He remained active in the lives of His people and it was the call of Israel to proclaim and make that name known. Israel, the “chosen people.” But not chosen as in special…Chosen for mission… to deliver the “good news”, the “Gospel.” When they failed to do so, God sent His Son, Jesus. Jesus Christ…God with a face on in this world. The image of God perfect and personified. And when Jesus ascended to heaven He, along with the Father, sent for us The Holy Spirit. God’s presence alive in this world.
And it is our calling to bring out the image of God in each and every person we meet. It is our mission to bring the image of God to every person, to every situation that we encounter. The image of God shines through us as we allow Him to be manifest. But the image of God is not ours alone. It is not ours to possess or control. Even under the hardness, under the protective shell, under the opposing spirit the image of God remains. People may not know it…they may not recognize it or even believe it. But God is everywhere and God’s image resides in and over His creation even when it is not acknowledged.
So when you encounter that difficult person or seemingly impossible situation when you struggle with anger or hurt, doubt and self condemnation remember that the image of God is there. And you and I are invited to discover it, to tease it out and to embrace the grace and love that can never be defeated.
The great sculptor, painter and architect Michelangelo said:
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
And I would say that every heart has the “Imago Dei” in it and it is the mission of the follower of Jesus to discover it.
What do you think? How does it make you feel?